Student attainment of educational outcomes is a core purpose of any institution of higher education and assessment provides a vehicle through which a program of study is able to ascertain how well it is achieving its stated learning outcomes and how program improvement might be achieved. Assessment of student learning begins with the clear definition and articulation of learning outcomes, followed by offering learning experiences, assessing student achievement of learning outcomes and using the results to improve teaching, learning, planning and allocation of resources (Middle States Accreditation Commission, 2005). A renewed emphasis on assessment is leading to the identification and implementation of additional ways to objectively and formally conduct program assessment with one direct method incorporating the evaluation of a capstone experience project deliverable. A well-defined capstone experience is comprehensive in nature allowing for the assessment of a wide range of abilities. A capstone based assessment method includes mapping project deliverables and other artifacts to specified learning outcomes, establishing a scoring rubric that defines performance criteria, collecting and analyzing data and reporting results. Through this type of analysis, program strengths are revealed and program weaknesses are identified. Subsequently program improvement plans can be developed and ultimately increases in student learning can be realized.
Journal of Information Systems Education